Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Boiler operator found to hold expired licence



Boiler operator found to hold expired licence

A security guard closes the entrance gate of the Chinese-owned garment factory that had a boiler explosion killing one and injuring seven Thursday last week in Phnom Penh.
A security guard closes the entrance gate of the Chinese-owned garment factory that had a boiler explosion killing one and injuring seven Thursday last week in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Boiler operator found to hold expired licence

Following a boiler explosion last week that killed one and injured seven others at a Levi Strauss & Co and C&A brand supplier in Phnom Penh, authorities yesterday said that the boiler operator – in addition to the boiler itself – had been working on an expired licence.

Phork Sovanrith, secretary of state at the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts, said that the licence for boiler operator Ou Von, who has been detained since Thursday, “expired the same day as the boiler [permit]”, in early February.

According to Sovanrith the ministry’s last inspection of the Zhen Tai garment factory occurred in early 2016.

What’s more, when the explosion occurred on Wednesday, he said, the boiler was unattended.

“[The operator] put a lot of wood into the boiler to keep the fire going when he left for lunch,” Sovanrith said, adding that “no matter what, the factory will need to be accountable and also the [operator]”.

Esther Germans, from the oversight program Better Factories Cambodia – which is investigating the incident alongside Levi’s and the authorities – yesterday noted in an email that “we are only aware of one worker being certified to operate the boiler”.

William Conklin, the country director of labour right group the Solidarity Centre, said this presented a clear problem.

“What happens if he is sick or cannot come to work? Obviously they need backup or a team,” he said in an email.

Meanwhile, Ty Sophon, the husband of deceased worker Kor Samon, 48, yesterday said that Zhen Tai had provided him and his in-laws $12,000 in compensation, as well as money for funeral costs.

In a statement yesterday, Thorsten Rolfes, a spokesman for Dutch clothing brand C&A, said that the company’s last audit of Zhen Tai was in November and found no irregularities, adding that, nonetheless, the company has “launched an in-depth investigation” into the explosion.

“C&A’s Sustainable Supply Chain team is on-site to conduct its investigations and we will provide further information as it becomes available and when families are properly informed,” he wrote.

An individual answering a call at the number listed for a Zhen Tai representative yesterday denied being the representative, before going on to say she had resigned from the company.

Additional reporting by Jovina Chua

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • ‘Beware of WhatsApp fraudsters’

    The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications warned members of the public who use WhatsApp to vigilantly guard against a new trick employed by hackers that involves the use of six-digit codes sent to potential victims via the popular messaging app. The ministry said hackers could